Antarctic Cruise Hits Rocks
Monday, February 05, 2007
The MS Nordkapp hit rocks near Deception Island, an ice-capped caldera off the Antarctic peninsula that is a popular stop for cruise ships. It sustained an 80-ft. gash in her bows.
As the ship dropped anchor, the Royal Navy ice-patrol ship HMS Endurance responded to a call for assistance, dispatching a helicopter and diving teams to assess damage and supervising the transfer of passengers to the Nordkapp’s sister ship, MS Nordnorge.
Speaking from the bridge of HMS Endurance, Captain Nick Lambert said that once passenger safety had been secured, his priority was to contain pollution. While nobody was hurt, the accident highlights the vulnerability of unspecialized ships sailing in remote and often uncharted Antarctic waters. Many marine-safety experts say a disaster — either human or environmental — among the icebergs of the South Atlantic is an accident waiting to happen, but Captain Lambert says Antarctic tourism shouldn’t be stopped.